Pentland Firth

We wanted to leave on Sunday. But whole night I just could not get out of my head the feeling of not going. So waking up Sunday seeing the wind was still strong and trees moving like mad, was a bit a relief. We didn’t have to go.
Andrew, who came to see us on his way back to London, and brought millions of cakes, took us on little sightseeing trip. We went to see Dunnet Head, the Merry Man of May and Duncansby Head. What we saw looked a little reassuring, we may be able to do it in similar conditions next day.
This morning we were woken up by fire alarm, fortunately a false one, burnt toast. This time it was Michal who was nervous. He doesn’t do great when nervous becoming controlling, over sensitive and needs to use bathroom more than normally. He even decided to put a dry suit on (first time since Porthscato). Still we packed quickly and caught bus to the harbour. There we had to pack all the cakes, thanks Andrew, and other lots of food in the boats. During that time we received invitation for a cup of coffee to the RNLI station, which eased our anxiety, however there we could admire many pictures of the Pentland in its full glory. Not very reassuring.

Pentland Firth in shorthand

Mist
Fog, bearing 60degrees
Sighting of Dunnet Head
Fog slowly lifting
Waves
Big waves
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke
Check for Michal, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, stroke
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke
Check for Michal, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, stroke
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke
Stroke, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, brace, brace, stroke

Lighthouse, brace, brace, stroke, stroke, brace, stroke, brace
Don’t surf me, please don’t surf me, back stroke, brace, forward
Don’t surf me, please don’t surf me, back stroke, brace, forward
Don’t surf me, please don’t surf me, back stroke, brace, forward

Paddle, paddle, paddle, faster, faster, hold it hold it hold it hold it!
Ahhhhh, wee break.

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We stopped at Brought Bay. Very nice place with seals. The sun came and we could enjoy a bit of calmer sea, even went past a stack.
Later it was livened up by side wind and waves, but within reasonable limits.

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We rushed to make it through the Merry Men of May before the tide turns. We could see the huge tide race on our left. Fortunately we reached the May Point during slack and could paddle through without any dramas.
We landed in little harbour right after the point. As soon as we pulled the boats up and climbed up the cliff the tide turned and the tide race was picking up again the opposite direction.

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Glad we went today, now we know we would not like it at all yesterday. Besides now we have great camping spot under the sun with fantastic view of Orkney, Stroma, Skerries, Duncaby and Dunnet Head.

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6 responses

  1. Tony says hello too btw! He had fond memories of cycling from Lands End to John O Groats and we had a great time up there and stayed at Wick for the evening. Loved the photos. You can dream about paddling out to the Orkneys and Shetlands next time!!

  2. “brace, stroke, brace, don’t surf me, please don’t surf me, back stroke, brace”

    Waves the size of small houses all around you, companions disappearing in the troughs, no let up in sight… its nerve wracking isn’t it? Glad you made it through though and well done on another significant corner!

    Luke

  3. “brace, stroke, brace, don’t surf me, please don’t surf me, back stroke, brace”

    I know that feeling: waves the size of small houses all around you, companions disappearing in the troughs, no let up in sight… it is nerve wracking. Glad you made it through though and congratulations on rounding another significant “corner”!

    Luke

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